What do you protect on your calendar for good?

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The cast of What A Story, at Diamond Lake Lutheran Church in Minneapolis

Farming communities know the concept of ‘barn-raising” to be the ultimate commitment in team work and community building.  The barn is the center point of growing food, livestock and character.  Young and old, rich and poor work shoulder to shoulder to build something special. Together. Kids these days don’t really understand the barn-raising concept — unless they participate in something like the Youth Musical at Diamond Lake Lutheran Church in South Minneapolis.

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Graydon Royce, exercising amazing patience and extraordinary vision in building the character of these lucky kids

The public at large knows Graydon Royce as the senior theater critic at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  I know Graydon as a Good Leader – a play-writing theater savant who grows faith and character in kids.  Together, we rally the church community in the annual barn-raising called the Youth Musical.  Graydon and his buddy Frank write original scripts and scores (every year!) specially-designed for our kids.  This year we had 30 kids, age 10-18, working together. It is a great lesson in leadership and teamwork, patience and perseverance…work and play.

We all commit to a seven week sprint of Sunday afternoon rehearsals, and one solid week (last week) in February to build the barn. The peak is a frenzied flock of professional people protecting their calendars, working shoulder to shoulder to transform the Lake View Room into The Theatre.  The magic starts when we haul in the stage.

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John Nelson needs a vacation to recover from his vacation week of wiring lights and sound

Then an IT leader takes the week off to hang fancy lights and rig up wireless headset microphones. He thinks he’s doing ‘lights and sound’ — but he’s actually helping the kids find their inner Faith Hill and Elvis. A carpenter builds the sets.  Teachers, accountants, house moms, real estate agents and others sew costumes, paint things and find props that allow the kids create their own Off-Broadway experience. Last Sunday a dentist was hawking tickets between services.

There are many subtle, unexpected moments that make the grueling week worth it: this year a ten year old, first-timer ran out on stage during the opening night intermission and yelled to her mom: “I can’t wait to do this again next year!” She said what we all were thinking.

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Our pit orchestra looks more like a garage band, with an Elton John wannabe as the director

My job is to teach the music. I assemble a rock ‘n roll pit-orchestra of kids and adults and help them play together. What’s a smash hit musical without a salty ballad, an electric swing or a kickin’ curtain call?  For me this is a week of blending faith, family, fun and future: my daughter Anna was the female lead, my sister Heidi did the choreography, Melinda helped prepare the meal for the Saturday night dinner theater. It’s a magical week where I protect my calendar and specifically avoid business travel for the chance to be Elton John for three nights.

So, if you ask me today: “How was your weekend?” I’m likely to smile, yawn, and give you a very, very long satisfying answer…

Good leaders protect their calendars for the things in life that really, sincerely produce good.

Drop me a note: what do you protect on your calendar for good?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

2 Comments

  1. Ann Yaggie on February 28, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    I protect long summer weekends on the Harley with my honey!



  2. Ann Yaggie on February 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I protect long summer weekends on the Harley with my honey!



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